(first posted 3/9/2016) Following up on our road wheel discussion, let’s consider the wheel cover. Practically extinct today, wheel covers were just as distinct as the cars they adorned throughout the CC era. A step up from the lowly hubcap, they provided a combination of style and branding that reinforced the signals car manufacturers wanted to send about the cars themselves.
Once again, it was Cadillac that got the ball rolling, introducing steel wheels and full wheel covers on their 1938 models. And once again, it took some time for the rest of the industry to catch up, but by the 1950s full wheel covers graced all but the lowest of low-priced cars.
Some were so good, they were arguably better than the cars themselves. One of my favorites, on the 1961 Imperial displays a cool elegance sadly missing in Virgil Exner’s freestanding headlights and compound shark fins.
Others, not so much. Was there ever a meaner wheelcover than the ones introduced on the 1962 Plymouth? It’s as if the designers, having been forced to hack together the disastrous downsized B-body, just gave up. There’s a reason virtually every 62 Fury you see today is wearing dog dishes instead of these.
OK, so my interests, both hot and cold, seem stuck in early 60s Mopars. I’m sure you’ll have many, many more candidates to add, both good and bad.